Turkish Highland Meadow Soup Is Made With Plain Yogurt, Rice and Mint

Turkish 'yayla çorbası' is made with rice, plain yogurt and mint.
Elizabeth Taviloglu, 2012
  • Total: 30 mins
  • Prep: 15 mins
  • Cook: 15 mins
  • Yield: 2 bowls of soup

If you are a fan of plain yogurt, you'll be happy to discover this Turkish recipe for hot yogurt soup. 'Yayla çorbası' (YAI'-lah chor-BAH'-suh), or 'highland meadow' soup is a popular Turkish soup that features plain yogurt, mint and rice.

It's named after the 'yaylalar,' or high mountain meadows in the northern regions of Turkey where grazing is at its best and high quality yogurt and dairy products abound. It's a good example of Turkish regional cuisine, usually associated with the northern regions of Turkey along the Black Sea coast, but it's common all over the country.

When it's cooked just right, this soup is creamy and satisfying. It's the perfect comfort food. I like to serve it at casual meals, or when I have leftover plain rice from the night before.

In Turkey, this recipe is considered a good choice if you're fighting a cold, much like chicken soup, or if you're recovering from an illness or surgery. I've often seen it on hospital menus!

It's not surprising. This soup is made with nutritious ingredients, has a mild, minty flavor and is easy on the stomach. Try Turkish 'highland meadow' soup and do something good for your body, and your taste buds.


  • 1/2 cup rice (or broken rice: you can also substitute with 1 cup cooked plain rice)
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 2 cups plain yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • dash white pepper (or to taste)
  • 2 tablespoons butter (or margarine)
  • 2 tablespoons dried mint
  • 2 fresh mint sprigs (for garnishing)

Steps to Make It

  1. First, put the rice in a covered saucepan with 3 cups of water and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat, cover, and cook the rice until it softens.

  2. In a separate bowl, beat the egg, plain yogurt, flour and 1 cup of water briskly with a wire wisk until well blended and creamy. Make sure you have no lumps of flour or yogurt.

  3. Using your wire wisk to stir the rice and water, add the yogurt mixture while gently wisking. Then, add the salt and white pepper. Allow the mixture to heat through until steaming. Continue wisking gently without letting the soup come to a boil. If the soup becomes too thick for your liking, add a little more water.

  4. In a separate pan, melt the butter and add the dried mint. Stir thoroughly and remove from the heat quıickly. Add the butter and mint to the soup and continue wisking until well combined. Garnish each bowl of soup with a sprig of fresh mint leaves.

  5. If you wish, you can also keep the butter and mint separate and drizzle it over the top of the soup just before serving. If you want to spice up your soup a little more, add about 1 teaspoon hot red pepper flakes to the butter along with the mint.